Introduce your kids to the classics with these beautiful graphic books

by ParentCo. April 09, 2015

As a kid, I remember being told that Garfield didn't qualify as "silent reading time" material when I finished my classwork before everyone else. Granted, Garfield isn't exactly a founding text of the Western canon, but many educators have since come to understand that reading, in any form is a good thing. Graphic books have their own unique merits and are worth enjoying on their own terms. They also improve vocabulary and language acquisition by providing context through illustrations. There's no denying that even the kids who are reluctant to pick up a book are drawn to the pacing and the aesthetic of the format. The library in my son's elementary school is bursting with graphic novels, some which never quite make it to being re-shelved between readers. At our local public library, the graphic novel section always looks like it suffered its own isolated earthquake while the neat rows surrounding it seem untouched. We made a list of graphic books that are awesome on their own merits, but also happen to serve as a gateway to classic works of literature, mythology and history. Le Petit Prince Joann Sfar  A Wrinkle in Time Madeline L’engle adapted by Hope Larson  The Graveyard Book Neil Gaiman adapted by P. Craig Russell  Oz Series L. Frank Baum, Eric Shanower  Percy Jackson Series Rick Riordan, Robert Venditti, Attila Fukati, Jose Villarubbia  The Odyssey Gareth Hinds  Romeo and Juliet Gareth Hinds  The Babysitters Club Raina Telgemeier  The Boxcar Children by Shannon Eric Denton illustrated by Mike Dubisc 

These titles may cultivate or enhance an interest in history

Olympians Series by George O'Conner The myths of Zeus, Athena, Hera, Hades, Poseidon, and Aphrodite in graphic form.  March Book 1 and 2 by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell. Congressman John Lewis' first hand account of the battle for civil and human rights.  Graphic Library Series by various authors and illustrators. (Just when you think you've read them all, from the story of Levi Strauss to The Winter at Valley Forge, your second grader comes home with an edition about the Donner Party. Uh...)  Anne Frank: The Anne Frank House Authorized Graphic Biography  Maus by Art Speigelman A heavy but worthy read about Hitler's Europe as told by the son of a survivor.  Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi A memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution.  Bad Girls: Sirens, Jezebels, Murderesses, Thieves and Other Villains by Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple  Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller by Joseph Lambert  Vincent by Barbara Stok The graphic biography of Vincent van Gogh.  Pablo by Julie Birmant and Clément Oubrerie The graphic biography of Pablo Picasso  Ancient Egypt Tales of Gods and Pharaohs by Marcia Williams



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